The Moral Depravity Infecting the Republican Party
Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was caught bragging that if she and Steve Bannon had planned the attack on the January 6th United States, they would have won because they would have been armed.
“If Steve Bannon and I organized [January 6th], we would have won. Not to mention, it would have been armed.”
Then she got called out by the Biden White House, and so then she pulled the Trump card of denying the intention that was clear to all by her words.
She was being “sarcastic,” y’all. Why don’t you get her humor. Also, ‘Hollywood and antifa and drag queens’. That’s her pivot.
This tactic continues to work for those who weaponize the ‘both sides’ compulsion of our media.
Deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates triggered Greene when he commented, “It goes against our fundamental values as a country for a Member of Congress to wish that the carnage of January 6th had been even worse, and to boast that she would have succeeded in an armed insurrection against the United States government. This violent rhetoric is a slap in the face to the Capitol Police, the DC Metropolitan Police, the National Guard, and the families who lost loved ones as a result of the attack on the Capitol. All leaders have a responsibility to condemn these dangerous, abhorrent remarks and stand up for our Constitution and the rule of law.”
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Then on Monday White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made the point, “… (T)his is someone who is expected to have their committee positions restored. So we should let that sink in.”
She didn’t let it pass by that Greene is not only a member of Congress but that all leaders have a responsibility to condemn these remarks: “Again, this is coming from a member of Congress. All leaders have a responsibility to condemn these dangerous, vile remarks and stand for our Constitution and also for the rule of law. This is what is coming from a member of Congress. And what's more: She said to a group that lashed out against condemning Holocaust denial; they were giving her an award.
“You have all heard the President warn about awful conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric that… undermine the rule of law in our democracy. It is just antithetical to our values as a country for a member of Congress to wish that the carnage of January 6th had been even worse and to brag that they would have succeeded in an armed insurrection against the United States government.”
This is the Republican Party. Marjorie Taylor Greene is an extremist within the party; however, she is getting her committee positions back and that’s where this is a very different story than just an extremist in the party.
Republican Leaders? Where are you?
Hopeful Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is working to get the votes to be Speaker of the U.S. House in the next Congress, is a no-show so far.
The Washington Post noted, “Greene is scheduled to be sworn in for another term and take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment Monday.”
Conservative Bill Kristol commented in response to the Washington Post piece, “’McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment Monday.’ If you can’t condemn the insurrection and its cheerleaders, you shouldn’t be Speaker of the House.”
He’s absolutely correct. (If you’re listening, I went off script at this point for a side discussion about the two parties.)
McCarthy is the one elevating Greene, catering to the Q-Anon extremists, the anti-Semites, the racists and worst bigots — all so he can hold power and become Speaker.
McCarthy saw what happened to (former Republican Speakers of the House) Boehner and Ryan. And his answer isn’t: RUN, but rather, prostrate himself even lower to the worst impulses in his party and not only that, but empower them over the people by reinstating Greene to her committee positions.
Is this a depth to which we have not plunged previously? I know, you’re thinking ‘hey we survived Trump’ and true enough. Under Trump, Republican leadership played coy to disguise their avarice. It was clear that Trump was signaling to the worst elements when some of his own conspiracies, echoed on conservative media like Fox News, were cited as the motivation behind mass shootings like the Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh.
Somehow it seems worse, because a speck of integrity and patriotism could stop this. Right now. Could stop it in its tracks.
But integrity and patriotism are not to be found in McCarthy’s elevation of Greene.
Greene is no stranger to making inflammatory statements and even spreading conspiracies. She has claimed that the government was behind 9/11 and that Jewish space lasers were to blame for wildfires. In January of 2021, Parkland families called for Greene’s resignation after Facebook posts surfaced in which she appeared to agree that the 2018 mass shooting that murdered 17 innocent people was a ‘false flag’.
Instead of addressing the posts, Greene pivoted to the exact same issue that she is turning to on her ‘we would have won if I had planned it because we would have been armed,’ which is her obsession with guns and blaming certain law enforcement while claiming to be pro-police. In this case, she blamed the deputy for the shooting and claimed that schools shouldn’t be gun-free zones.
None of that is addressing her comments, her agreements with posts that claimed that this shooting was a false flag. There is a stark lack of personal responsibility and accountability? Oh, she also personally attacked the source, calling it ‘Communist Bloggers.’
The lack of personal accountability is stunning. The lack of morality is profound. The failure to even pretend to have a moral position is concerning. This is a movement within the Republican Party that is taken over and is now running the whole show.
One reason this tactic of claiming something was sarcasm - that the Republican base knows is not - works so well is evidenced in the success of the Babylon Bee, which markets itself as “satire” without mentioning the satire is usually aimed at Democrats and the conservatives who read it actually believe it’s news or treat it as news.
I know this from real life discussions and from online commenters using the Babylon Bee as a source for a claim. When called out on it they then claim the Left can’t take a joke, when the real point is that Republicans don’t seem interested in even determining the facts; Instead, they’ll fall for anything they can use to fuel their hatred of Democrats, gay and trans people, Jewish people, women who aren’t subservient, Black people, Black women, Latinos, the list is endless at this point. It’s easier to ask who they don’t they hate.
And I think that’s noteworthy; it’s alarming. It’s not normal for an entire political party readying to take over an entire chamber of Congress in a democracy.
This Trump tactic of saying something caught on video or audio and then denying it, while pivoting with an attack on the source or general attacks on the current Targets of the Republican Party continues to work for those who weaponize the ‘both sides’ compulsion of the media.
But this White House is learning how to use the bully pulpit to redirect the media to the actual facts and issues: In this case, maybe this person shouldn’t be on committees.
It’s a shame that our media is so weak and obsequious and married to both sides are equal that they need to be redirected to facts when real people’s lives are on the line.
Kevin McCarthy is putting this person back on committees. He is elevating her to committee positions where she will have power and authority over legislation that will impact Americans.
All parties have extremists in them. The difference is that the Republican Party is led by a man who tried to steal an election including inciting a violent and deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol - and is not only still the Republican Party leader, but is still trying to steal the 2020 election, two years and a failed self-coup later.
The Republican Party has elevated its worst elements to the highest levels of leadership, and that is why Kevin McCarthy’s cowardice and refusal to condemn Greene’s comments matters. He is animating and empowering Greene’s dangerous extremism.
It shouldn’t be hard to condemn calling for an armed attack on the U.S. Capitol. But it is for the House Republican Leader. And this fact evinces the grotesque moral depravity of the modern-day Republican Party.
This is Sarah Jones with the PoliticusPod for PoliticusUSA’s The Daily. Thank you so much for joining me today and please consider subscribing and gifting a subscription to our Substack, which we are using to help keep information and analysis free for all on PoliticusUSA, where we focus on how the news impacts The People.
December 12, 2022 White House press briefing sent to PoliticusUSA